What a great day to be in central London, as it was Her Majesty the Queen's official birthday and (even more importantly) the Feast of the Immaculate Heart. I celebrated the latter by attending a twin Ordination at Westminster Cathedral. There must have been 100 priests there to welcome into our ranks Fr Richard Nesbitt and Fr John Elliott - ad multos annos!
As I made my way to the Cathedral, I stopped off on The Mall, that great ceremonial road leading to Buckingham Palace. The Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) was finishing at Horse Guards and the crowds were expectantly waiting to see the stately procession return to the Palace.
The procession came in stages - first a small detachment of Foot Guards (above) and then The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. Then it was the turn of two barouche carriages containing members of the Royal Family. Here is a picture of the Duchess of Cornwall and (partly obscured by her large hat) Prince William, wearing his Blues and Royal uniform.
Eventually the Household Cavalry appeared, with their magnificent mounted band. Centre of everybody's attention were the two Drum Horses, such as this one:
Then it was the turn of the Foot Guards, with their equally magnificent Massed Band - led by the splendid Drum Majors.
Her Majesty The Queen whizzed into view, accompanied by Prince Philip, dressed as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. Since the crowd - including (mea culpa) myself - was so pre-occupied with taking photos on their cameras and mobiles, there was very little applause. I hope the Queen didn't think we were rampantly republican. It is perhaps unfortunate that we live in such a technological age.
The Princess Royal (Colonel of the Blues and Royals), the Duke of Kent (Colonel of the Scots Guards), and the Prince of Wales (Colonel of the Welsh Guards) were mounted on horses behind Her Majesty. You can the latter two in this picture (on black horses):
Behind came the Foot Guards, headed by their colour:
Various important-looking dignitaries closed the procession, looking forward, no doubt, to a festive luncheon:
Her Majesty's last duty was taking the salute for the last time at Buckingham Palace and then watching a fly past. Here you can just see the Royal Family assembling on the Palace balcony.
There's nothing like a bit of pomp and circumstance on a Saturday in June. Happy Birthday, Ma'am!